Facility Maintenance Decisions

Sidebar: Fine-Tuning the Energy-Efficiency Process in HVAC Equipment

Maintenance and engineering managers can employ numerous methods to improve the efficiency of boilers and water heaters. One essential, early step is engaging design professionals, equipment vendors and service providers to evaluate system conditions. Validating savings projections with a third party also is prudent. Managers should be leery of savings of 101 percent of annual heating costs that result from adding the savings from potential ECMs. There may be interaction between the measures, and vendors also frequently use ideal conditions, which is not the case in all systems.

But real, substantial savings are achievable. A trusted technical advisor with expertise in energy analysis can help navigate the options. After you have implemented the ECMs

One important facet many managers overlook is training the engineering staff regarding the new sequence of operation or equipment. With better understanding of the reasons changes were made, operators and technicians can make better decisions regarding operation of their facility.

As managers begin identifying and engineering ECMs, the need to keep in mind that this is the easy part. The challenge often is the communication — presenting a compelling case that resonates with the top management. Stiff competition for funds exists in every business. In health care, for example, should the hospital replace the 50-year-old boiler or install a new magnetic resonance imaging machine?

The struggle for funds between revenue-generating and revenue-consuming investments is a constant battle. When presenting ECMs for review, managers should avoid limiting the discussion to energy conservation. Include information on the return on investment for the project, and identify the way it benefits stakeholders and supports the organization’s mission, if possible.

Managers can proactively schedule a brief meeting with the CFO or controller to establish criteria for evaluating capital projects. Most importantly, managers must keep in mind that it takes a team to identify and implement these ECMs. To succeed, they need to engage a team that includes maintenance staff, trusted technical advisors and a representative of building occupants.

— Dale J. Kondik. P.E.

Continue Reading: Product Focus: Boilers and Water Heaters

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Sidebar: Fine-Tuning the Energy-Efficiency Process in HVAC Equipment

Product Focus: Boilers

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  posted on 2/13/2016   Article Use Policy

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